Monday, March 13th, 2023
Director of Communications ColorComm, Inc.
Gadeer ‘Gigi’ Ghannam is Director of Communications at ColorComm Corporation, the nation’s leading women’s platform addressing diversity and inclusion across communications, marketing, advertising, digital and public relations industries.
Gigi has led several high-impact campaigns and marquee events for ColorComm where community is at the core of its culture; consulted Fortune 500 companies on executive visibility, employee recruitment and retention, and DEI strategies to overcome disruption and build an inclusive culture in the ever-evolving, agile workforce and a better world for all; and launched an American-Muslim initiative dedicated to supporting and promoting American-Muslim professional communicators working to improve cultural competence.
A storyteller at heart, Gigi continues to find new avenues to highlight authentic stories of multicultural leaders who are driving change, and to inspire others to embark on their own trailblazer journeys.
Gigi is an active volunteer at non-profit Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in New York City and most recently served as a Judge for The Drum’s in PR Awards in 2022. She holds a Master’s degree in Communication from Trinity Washington University.
Founder, Lia Beauty Bar Television Host, Roya TV
Walaa Blasi is an entrepreneur and a busy mom of two, who has harnessed the power of social media to build her business while positively Influencing others. She is the owner and founder of “Lia Beauty Bar”, a spa with locations in Jordan and Las Vegas.
Through events and conferences, Walaa welcomes new opportunities that allow her to elevate women in media often sharing her unique perspective on empowerment and inclusion.
Born and raised in Jodan, Walaa got her start in media as a TV host for a Jordanian youth-oriented show. She eventually went on to produce and present her own TV segment focused on helping talented students in need. While working in entertainment, Walaa also excelled in several HR roles within the Jordanian pharmaceutical industry.
Upon relocating to the United States, she continued in television doing interviews to highlight stories of successful Arab immigrants. Walaa holds a diploma in TV broadcast and radio, a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, and an MBA.
In addition to raising her children and growing her business. Walaa is pursuing her Doctorate in Business Administration. She’s grateful for opportunities that allow her to keep learning, growing, and using social media to reach new audiences and empowering others.
Kuwaiti Visual Artist Social & Political Activist
In Arabic, “Latifa or Lateefa” is a feminine Arabic (طیفٓةِٓل) given name, which means “gentle” or “pleasant.” Alajlan is a Kuwaiti visual artist and activist, currently studying Fine Arts (MFA) at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Most of her work is inspired by her native culture, surroundings, and reality; aiming to facilitate a conversation between the conservative and the liberal with a focus on women empowerment. Her work provokes our understanding of spirituality, sensuality, and order. Latifa Alajlan has a keen interest in the developments of artistic practices taking place in Kuwait and hopes to engage and contribute to its community.
As a Kuwaiti woman artist,Latifa Alajlan has always felt compelled to make work in response to the current social and political issues of the Middle East. She does so through abstraction. Alajlan uses gestural abstraction to communicate what her body, and more symbolically, what other women’s bodies, actively go through as they cope with their identity and their expected compliance with certain societal and religious norms in her native Kuwait and across the Middle Eastern region.
Latifa Alajlan draws with paint and graphite on top of linen, and then adds thick layers of stenciled patterns from the ornaments of mosques in Kuwait. The earthy materials used in her paintings are standard building materials and hearken back to the building of mosques and historical sites that symbolize the formidable patriarchy imposed by religious clerics. Using her hands and body, the sensual strokes and textures of her mark-making invoke the intimacy of the artist’s nature. Her artistic practice affords Latifa Alajlan ownership of her flesh in defiance of patriarchal control.
Executive Director Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA)
Khitam brings with her many years’ of experience as the Founder and Executive Director of her own nonprofit, Blessons for Women. Building an organization from the ground-up as well as a life-long passion for mobilizing resources to provide free mentorship, educational workshops and wellness clinics for all women.
A first-generation Palestinian immigrant with a unique background in nonprofit management and philanthropy. She has worked for over a decade in the city of Chicago to build compassionate networks of support through mentorship for women and other marginalized communities. Khit’s passion for philanthropy and community building has inspired her to a lifetime of service. From her work providing 1-on-1 support and mentorship for cancer fighters with Imerman Angels, to founding Blessons, a nonprofit dedicated to providing scholarships towards skilled trades and resources for women, Khitam’s mission has always been to empower others and educate her community in volunteerism.
Khitam’s journey has been paved with challenging life-lessons. After leaving her family in California at the age of 16 to avoid an arranged marriage, Khit struggled to build a life independently in the face of adversity. In the years following, Khit battled cancer, is a survivor of abuse, and learned to manage the complexities of mental health, while discovering her own identity.
Following her battle with cancer in 2007, Khitam moved to Chicago, where she has built a community of motivated and resilient women and developed a background in philanthropy and community organizing that is entirely unique. She has been featured in Harper Bazaar Arabia, spoken at over 200 events, conferences, and engagements, and is the recipient of the Mity Nice Award and the Hyatt “Portraits of Understanding” Award, among others.
Khitam currently sits as the Executive Director of MALA (Muslim American Leadership Alliance), where she is working to build a nation-wide community to amplify the legacy and impact of Muslim American cultural heritage and intersectional identity.